I have been traveling for as long as I can remember. I grew up in southern California and spent many summers and holidays on road trips up and down the west coast, crossing the country to visit sights and family, or hanging out at my parent's cabin in the mountains. Before I got to junior high I had already been to Canada and Mexico. By the time I graduated from high school I had traveled in various RVs, campers, vans, by cruise ship, by plane, and went from California to Washington D.C. in the back of a pick up truck... ah, the good old days. Oh, and I had also traveled across country with my little brother in my grandpa's big rig at the age of seven.
I am a real life hobo... I don't have a steady place to call "home" but rather live wherever I am at any given moment. Most of my time is spent on the road in a Peterbilt car-hauler or crashing at my parent's house. On the road I frequent truck stops, rest stops, dirt lots, and the side of the road. I also have a network of friends and family who lend me a bed, couch, or floor when I'm passing through and I can occasionally be found in a hotel room. My loads mostly take me to ports and rail yards, dealerships and auctions.
I must admit, this lifestyle suits me... I love the freedom that comes from being a trucker. I work when I want, wake up when I want, dress how I want, take breaks when I want, and don't have to deal with a crappy routine of sitting in traffic, sitting at a desk, and sitting in traffic again, just to repeat the same mind-numbing pattern the next day. Two things that I can't stand are traffic and an office; especially office drama. On the road there are people who irritate me, but in an office, you have to see them everyday. I love the fact that I don't have anyone looking over my shoulder or breathing down my neck and I can't stand being micro-managed.
Not only does trucking provide me with a lifestyle that suits me, but it allows me to see places I wouldn't otherwise see. I don't have to save up vacation days and money just to rush off to spend it all in a specified amount of time. I get to be on a constant road trip, sleeping in a sleeping bag every night, and I hardly ever set an alarm clock. I get to work out doors, watch the landscape and seasons literally change before my eyes. And if I had a good sniffer and taste buds, I'd probably be able to recommend a certain meal from one of the many restaurants, diners or dives I discover along the way. To me though, most things I eat are good.
As I mentioned before, I'd been around a bit before graduating high school. Afterwards, I was working numerous part time jobs, attempting college locally, and was frustrated with the fact that I was in a band that was going nowhere. My friends weren't really doing anything and I was getting restless. So, I joined the Marines. I spent the first four years in the Motor-T field driving big trucks called "Dragon Wagons." The Marine Corps provided a lot of what I was looking for, I was learning something new, meeting new people, having fun... and traveling. I loved the travel.
Rather than get out of the service, I changed my job to the intelligence field. It was in the intel field that I really got to blend my favorite things into one single job. See, not only do I love to travel, but I also love to learn, think outside the box, solve complex problems and I loved the responsibility of having do it all while on my own in foreign countries. After about ten years of active duty service, I got out and ended up with my first civilian job living in Cuba. A year later, I found myself working for a government contracting company in Virginia and bounced around a handful of contracting jobs until late in 2014. That's when the government stopped funding the defense/intelligence programs, I lost my job, lost my house, and had to relocate.
While working as a contractor, I was able to finish college. I graduated with a business degree and continued working towards an MBA. But I was miserable. I hated my job, hated working in window-less government intelligence buildings, hated wearing a suit, hated the D.C. traffic, and more or less hated life. So after all of that training and education, my counselor at school recommended that I read a book called, "What Color Is Your Parachute?" It was just what I needed. That book, along with a couple of other inspirations, helped me to realize that doing what everyone else is doing and doing what every other American working adult is expected to do (go to school, join the military, learn a trade, get a degree, get a job, buy a house, etc) just wasn't for me. I realized that the main ingredient to my happiness, was travel. And I realized that during my time as a contractor, my favorite jobs were the ones that required me to travel. So it was that realization that helped me to make a pact with myself...that no matter what, I was going to work in jobs that require travel in some way, shape or form. And that's what I did... until the government stopped paying for those jobs.
So then what? I had lost my job, was losing my house, and didn't know what else to do. I started looking at the job market, which wasn't looking very promising. There were a handful of desk jobs. No one was holding on to a job because of the economy. So I did some research and started looking for a job that would provide what was important to me... low stress, a casual dress code, not in an office environment, working outdoors. And there were some jobs out there like construction, emergency services, or being a park ranger. But the one ingredient that was missing was the most important ingredient of all... travel. Then it dawned on me... trucking. That's it! Trucking! I'll be a truck driver! Both of my grandfathers did it for a living, I did it in the Marines, it's honest work, and it's hard work! I can do that too! So there you have it; I'm a trucker. It has had it ups and downs, the days are loooooooong, but it beats the other typical junk that comes with a regular job.
Is this what I'm going to do forever? Nope. But I'm content for the moment. It's a means to an end. My dream job is somewhere overseas. I love the international stage. I love living and traveling abroad. I especially love little European towns and villages. That is where I ultimately want to be. But for now, trucking is the temporary fix for my wanderlust.